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LGBTQ Discrimination Attorney Philadelphia


Being a member of the LGBTQ community is not against the law. Whether you are Gay, Lesbian, bi-sexual, non-binary, transgender, queer or have any other form of gender expression or identity, you have a right to live your truth at home and work. Your employer, however, does not have the right to discriminate against you because of it. That is against federal and local laws. For the past 25 years, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group have helped people just like you get the justice they deserve.

What Is LGBTQ Discrimination in Philadelphia?

LGBTQ discrimination in the Philadelphia workplace is when an employee or job applicant is not treated fairly or is harassed by his or her employer, CEO, supervisor/manager, co-worker, client/customer, vendor, or non-employee because of his or her sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or because he or she is transgender or associated with anyone in the LGBTQ community. Even if the treatment is not directed at you or it is perceived that you are LGBTQ, you may be a victim of this type of discrimination. It is illegal in Philadelphia under federal and state laws and should never be tolerated.

What Law Protect Employees from LGBTQ in Philadelphia?

Federal and local laws can protect members of the LGBTQ community from workplace discrimination in Philadelphia.

Sex discrimination is protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) currently says that LGBTQ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination and is therefore prohibited in companies with 15 or more employees.

The Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance specifically prohibits companies from discriminating against individuals for sexual orientation and gender identity, protecting most members of the LGBTQ community from employment discrimination.

What Evidence is Needed to Prove LGBTQ Discrimination in Philadelphia?

In order to prove discrimination in the workplace, you need one of three types of evidence: direct; disparate; or policy.

  1. Direct Evidence. Direct evidence is exactly as it sounds and may be referred to as the “smoking gun.” It is when you are told the reason for the unfair treatment is directly related to you being a member of the LGBTQ community. The evidence can be verbal or in writing and said or sent directly to you or someone else about you.
  1. Disparate Evidence. Disparate evidence establishes an office pattern or culture and provides evidence to the cause and effect relationship between you being treated unfairly and your status as a member of the LGBTQ community.
  1. Policy Evidence. When a policy is inherently discriminatory and would cause discrimination just by following it, you can use it as evidence of discrimination.
What Are Some Examples of LGBTQ Discrimination in Philadelphia?

Sometimes LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace is subtle, such as being passed over a few times for a promotion. Other times it is blatant, such as being called homophobic slurs. Here are some other examples of LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace:

  • Your boss refuses to use your preferred pronouns
  • Your co-worker tells anti-LGBTQ jokes almost daily, even have you have said they offend you
  • You were asked your sexual orientation during your interview
  • Your supervisor demotes you after he finds out you identify as non-binary
  • You are fired because your CEO does not like having anyone on staff that identifies as queer
  • The company policy insists that all people use the bathrooms that coincide with the gender of their birth
  • You are forced to wear gender-specific uniforms.
  • You are denied benefits for your same-sex spouse even though company policy allows employees to get coverage for their spouse
  • Your co-worker consistently asks you why you are bi-sexual instead of “choosing” a sexuality
  • You are fired for complaining to HR about being called homophobic slurs regularly
  • You have made it clear that while you are not Gay or Lesbian, the jokes about Gay and Lesbian people offend you. The behavior does not stop
What Is the Statute of Limitations to File an LGBTQ Discrimination Claim in Philadelphia?

To file a Title VII claim, you must file it with the EEOC. The time limit is 300 days from the last date of discrimination. The EEOC will investigate the claim and issue a Right to Sue letter to allow you to sue in federal court.

If you wish to file a Philadelphia Fair Practices ordinance claim, you can do so within 1 year of the sate of the last incident of discrimination.

What Remedies Are Available Through the Courts for LGBTQ Discrimination in Philadelphia?

The court can offer relief to you for your suffering as a victim of LGBTQ discrimination. Some of the remedies available may include, but are not limited to:

  • Reinstatement of employment and/or benefits
  • Reimbursement of benefit premiums
  • Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
  • Reassignment or termination of the person responsible for the discriminatory behavior
  • Reviewing and revamping company policies
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Back pay
  • Future pay
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages
What Is the Length of Time an LGBTQ Discrimination Case Can Last in Philadelphia?

When you file a lawsuit for discrimination in Philadelphia, the case can last anywhere from 4 to 6 months to a year or longer, depending on the specifics of your case. If your employer is willing to negotiate a fair settlement before trial, your case may settle within 4 to 6 months. However, if your case gets to trial, it may take 8 months to a year or longer to prepare. The trial may then take an additional few days to several weeks or longer until a judgment is entered by the court.

A Few Things You Can Do Right Now

As you decide how to move forward, there are a few things you can do right now to help move your case along.

  1. Contact an experienced LGBTQ lawyer immediately.
  2. If you are still employed, do not quit your job without consulting with your attorney first.
  3. If your company has an HR department, file a complaint for LGBTQ discrimination in writing.
  4. If your company has an LGBTQ discrimination policy, follow it.
  5. Gather evidence. Document every incident, including what occurred when and where it occurred, who was involved, and any witnesses.
  6. Do not waste time. Your time to file a claim is limited. Do not wait until it is too late.

Contact Our Experienced Philadelphia LGBTQ Discrimination Attorneys for Your Free Consultation

Your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and association with anyone in the LGBTQ community is your choice and your right to express or keep to yourself. Either way, you should never face workplace discrimination because of it. If you are the victim of LGBTQ or Gay and Lesbian discrimination in the workplace in Philadelphia, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group (one of FindLaw’s top employment discrimination firms) can help. Contact us today at (215) 391-4790 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.

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